Varanasi, a place known for its religious fervour, is emerging as a haven for many gemstone traders who style themselves as 'Astrology Doctors'.
Many claim that they can cure diseases like cancer, anaemia, piles, kidney-related problems and others, with their 'gemstone-therapy'. It is done by influencing the planetary conditions through gemstones.
They prefix "Dr." with their names.
Different gemstones are prescribed for patients' after studying their horoscopes. It is after a brief analysis of the horoscope that a patient is suggested what planet is actually affecting his/her health.
Sidhartha Singh, one of such astrologer-therapists, said: "In astrological therapy, ailment is treated on the basis of positions of planets and twelve zodiacs. Like Aries and Scorpio are controlled by Mars. If Mars is creating problem then the person could suffer from blood related ailments and injuries. In such cases we suggest people to use coral gem."
The gemstones are expensive and often bought by the well-off families. Dozens of such 'clinics' have come up in various parts of Varanasi.
It is claimed wearing a right stone matching one's horoscope can cure a person of all ailments.
Some of these 'astrology doctors' admit that astrological permutations and combinations can only treat the problems indirectly and it is the allopathic doctors that can give direct treatment.
Lakshman Das, an astrologer-therapist, said: "Astrologers can only tell when the disease rooted as well as the planet responsible for the ailment. An astrologer cannot do the direct treatment. He only pacifies the planetary conditions of the concerned person."
It takes various gem stones for a 'treatment' of any disease as per these 'astrological practitioners'. Though many people visiting some of the genuine astrologers say they have benefited through gem therapy.
Vivek, a visitor to one such astrologer, said: "He (astrologer) told me to wear pearl for various purposes; it could give me a peace of mind and success in my career. I followed the advice and now I am happy in my life."
Manish, another visitor to such astrological clinic, said: "When I came here astrologer searched my entire horoscope and advised me to use coral. From the time I am using it, I have been benefited a lot."
In astrology, there are twelve zodiacs and three planets i.e. Mars, Venus and Saturn which have a direct and indirect bearing on human life and health.